How to Correct Mistakes on a Manual Typewriter

A question I am often asked is how to correct mistakes on a manual typewriter. There are a few options available today that work very well.  I've used them all at one time or another.

First, simply "x" through the mistake. For much of the writing done on manual machines, this is a perfectly acceptable solution when that pinky strays to the wrong key.  Plus, it gives your writing some character.  Embrace the typos!

Another option is to use Bic Wite-Out Correction Tape (or a generic brand of the same item). When you make a typing mistake, roll up the paper so you can easily get to it, apply a piece of correction tape over the mistake and you're good to go.

One last option would be to use old-time correction tabs.  With these, you simply place them over the character you'd like to remove and retype with the correct character. A white coating covers up the mistake. I remember using these in my high school typing class!

 Whatever you use, please avoid liquid correction fluid and "correctable" nylon typewriter ribbons. Both make a mess in vintage machines which may cause your local typewriter repair person to curse under their breath.  

Do you use another method that I didn't mention?  Share your experiences in the comments below.


  • Jason

    For many years I used Erasable paper but the eraser shavings can tend to accumulate in tge typewriter mechanism gumming up its functioning over time and requiring a typewriter repair visit.


  • mercy

    oh god yes sometimes u have missing letters

  • Bryan Sherwood

    Louis, I’m not sure that erasable bond paper is made any longer. It worked well but I can imagine with less demand that one might have to purchase new old stock on eBay or similar auction site.

  • Bryan

    Oh, that’s a good option, Rob. You’re correct—half space can save the day.

  • Rob

    I strike through with an X as you do though I do have some slightly threadbare TippEx papers too. Sometimes, a missing letter can be shoehorned in if your typewriter benefits from half-spacing. Then, there’s no need for either of the above.

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